Oh, the life of Daniel “Danny” Briere – it’s just one injury after another these days, isn’t it? If you’re a fantasy manager, you were stoked to see Briere finally back, then pissed to see him get hurt yet again. If you’re Flyer GM Paul Holmgren, you’re probably slapping your forehead after just clearing a whole buttload of cap space at the trade deadline. But wait, it’s not as bad as we thought. It’s just a lot grosser than we thought. From Canadian Press:
“Briere was examined Friday morning, and his surgeon told him the adhesions broke from his last groin surgery and there was some internal bleeding. Briere said his surgeon told him that was common and Briere could possibly play Tuesday against Buffalo.”
Common? I hope my groin adhesions never break. In any case, don’t shut down Briere from your lineup just yet.
As for that whole trade deadline issue, the big fantasy winner is Olli Jokinen, but you knew that, right? Jokinen popped in a pair of goals in his first game skating alongside Jarome Iginla (guess which guy got to wear No. 12?) and everything’s sunshine and rainbows in Calgary, or as sunshine and rainbows as Darryl “Bitter Beer Face” Sutter can be. However, the knock on Jokinen has constantly been great start, poor finish. Will this happen up in Calgary? One would hope that having the playoffs around the corner would actually motivate the dude, but when you have someone who occasionally wears a porn star ’stache during the regular season, you don’t know what to expect.
The New York Rangers revamped their lineup to go along with their revamped coaching staff. Derek Morris becomes the de facto power play point man on Broadway despite having just a handful of points. He’ll certainly get his opportunities, so if you need some help on defense, it’s worth a gamble.
Hey, remember Martin Gerber? He’s back in the NHL thanks to the wacky folks over in Toronto. No, he’s not just there to serve Brian Burke pizza; Gerber’s actually got a hold of the starting position because Vesa Toskala’s been shut down for the year. You need starts to finish out your fantasy season? Gerber’s your man. Just don’t expect a ton of wins.
Erik Cole returns to the scene of the crime in Carolina. If you’ll recall, Cole was on the cusp of being one of the league’s best power forwards when a broken neck — yes, a broken neck — got in the way. Since then, he hasn’t put up goals at the same pace, but now he’s reunited with regular linemate/BFF Eric Staal. We’ll see if there’s any magic left over from 2005.
The other component of the Cole deal finds oft-injured Justin Williams in Los Angeles and underachieving Patrick O’Sullivan in Edmonton. For O’Sullivan, the key will be how much ice time he gets skating with talented Ales Hemsky.
Sidney Crosby’s linemates in his first game back from injury: Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin. It’s like Crosby woke up from a bad dream where he was surrounded by soft over-the-hill wingers (Miroslav Satan, say hello to the AHL). While Guerin’s numbers haven’t been anything to write home about this season, he still does love to shoot the puck and his aggressive style will work well with Crosby’s playmaking skills.
Brendan Morrison’s long strange journey across the NHL continues. Remember, at one point, this guy was a point-per-game player. Claimed off waivers by Dallas, he’ll be given every opportunity to thrive as the Stars remain depleted up front due to injury. Morrison probably won’t break up Mike Ribiero/Loui Eriksson, which means that he won’t have much scoring talent to work with. In other words, don’t look for a return to form from Morrison.
Antoine Vermette’s move to Columbus means that Ken Hitchcock has a few more offensive options, especially with Fredrick Modin coming back from injury soon. However, the combination of Rick Nash/Manny Malhotra/Kristian Huselius has found a pretty good groove, so don’t look for Hitch to tinker with things too much until it appears necessary. The Blue Jackets are filled with second liners like Vermette and R.J. Umberger that show first-line potential…whether they get there or not can make or break their playoff hopes.
And while this wasn’t a trade deadline move, the return of Martin Brodeur has provided the Devils an even bigger kick than making a big deal would. We sure hope you took our advice and picked him up if he was available, because good old Marty is 4-0 since returning from a 50-game absence and you can pretty well guarantee that he’s no longer on anyone’s wire. Brodeur is about to make history, currently sitting a mere four wins shy of passing Patrick Roy and becoming the NHL all-time leader in wins.
The Week Ahead
- How much can Jokinen ignite the Flame offense? We’ll find out as Calgary hits the road against Carolina (Friday), Atlanta (Sunday), New Jersey (Tuesday), and Detroit (Thursday).
- While a lot of Western teams are taking road trips out east, there are still key head-to-head match-ups for the playoff race: Minnesota at LA (Saturday), Minnesota at Anaheim (Sunday), Vancouver at LA (Monday), and Vancouver at Anaheim (Wednesday).
- Alexander Ovechkin is suffering from a bruised foot, but he should be in the lineup for the big game against Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday. Don’t forget that the last time these rivals clashed sparked a war of words between the stars, and now even Don Cherry’s weighing in. All eyes will be on Crosby and his new linemates Kunitz and Guerin.